A construction of a posteriori physicalism
This dissertation aims to provide a posteriori answers to the mystery of consciousness, which can be articulated in the form of the zombie argument, which denies physicalism if there is a possible world in which a physical/functional duplicate of me that lacks qualia exists.
Physicalists have tried to resolve the mystery of consciousness in two different ways. On the one hand, a priori physicalists, such as Lewis, Armstrong, and Shoemaker maintain that conceptual analyses are best for reduction. On the other hand, many a posteriori physicalists reject simple conceptual analyses for reduction, while support functional/physical state identity.
I formulate what constitutes a posteriori physicalism in Chapter 1. It is based on a metaphysical thesis (metaphysical supervenience or stronger); it endorses the conceivability of zombies while rejecting their possibility; it utilizes the difference in modes of presentation to explain away dualistic features of consciousness.
First, I show in Chapter 2 that metaphysical supervenience is insufficient for physicalism and that we need a stronger thesis. Next, I prove in Chapter 3 that zombies are conceivable while not possible. The conceivability of zombies denies a priori physicalism and their possibility disproves dualism. In Chapter 4, I examine a related issue of whether physicalists can deal with consciousness without being committed to any positions, which means topic-neutrality.
However, a posteriori physicalism should solve perennial problems such that it is vulnerable to Multiple Realizability and that it posits a brute metaphysical identity with no positive explanation about why a neural event gives rise to pain. In Chapter 5, I formulate neurofunctionalism as a reductive theory to accommodate Multiple Realizability and provide an explanation based on the Inference to the Best Explanation.